It's Thursday, November 2, 2017. In this section of Scripture, we see opposition to the followers of "the Way" resulting in riot in the city of Ephesus. See how the simple obedience of these first Christians truly did "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). Chris Adomanis
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ What behavior pattern(s) did you drastically stop or habitually start as the result of deciding to follow Jesus?
_ Have you ever "caused a riot" in making a stand for Christ, (i.e. an argument at a family gathering or something at work)?
Heavenly Father, help us to know and understand the power that You have graciously given with the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit. May we use it to bring about positive change in our world today. Amen.
DISCOVER [Acts 19:21-41]
21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”
28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,[a] who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?[b] 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,[c] it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
_ Why was Demetrius so upset? What two things of his were "hurt" by the new behavior patterns of the followers of the Way?
_ Why were these early Christians called "the Way"? (Hint: see John 14:6). Why is this designation for Christians called into opposition today?
_ Do you think Paul should have taken a stronger stand here? Why or why not?
_ How was the situation finally settled? How did the behavior of the Christians finally win the day?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience? (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Is there an area in your life where you have used "Christian liberty" to continue in a pattern of sin that God is calling you to stop? Seek out a close brother or sister in Christ for encouragement and counsel.
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?
_ Who in your life TODAY is the Lord prompting you to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
_ Do you have someone in your life TODAY that challenges you (and you challenge back) to be an effective witness for Christ?